Vail Symposium hosts webinar on US-Iranian relations


Greg Dobbs leads a chat with Behnam Ben Taleblu and Michael Singh to discuss Iran and its relationship with the United States
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After four years of “maximum pressure” campaign by the previous administration, is the new leadership in Washington and Tehran an opportunity for a thaw in relations between the two countries? Or, does the election of conservative Ebrahim Raisi signal Iran’s desire for a more assertive foreign policy that will challenge the United States?

During a Zoom webinar on Wednesday, Greg Dobbs leads a discussion with Behnam Ben Taleblu and Michael Singh to discuss Iran and its relationship with the United States

“Despite several years of punitive sanctions, Iran still manages to support troublesome militias across the Middle East,” said Claire Noble, director of programming for the Vail Symposium. “Equally worrying, the past two years have seen Iran ramp up uranium enrichment. If the sanctions won’t change their behavior, will there be anything? We have assembled a panel of experts to answer this and other questions regarding US-Iranian relations. “



The future of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is one of the main concerns of the Biden administration’s foreign policy team. Negotiated by the Obama administration and notoriously abandoned by Trump, President Biden’s commitment to revive the Common Comprehensive Plan of Action remains unclear. In the meantime, how far is Iran’s nuclear program from a breaking point? And how should the United States react if it does?

While a nuclear Iran is a potential threat, Iran’s current support for many militias and terrorist groups in the region, including Lebanese Hezbollah, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Yemen’s Houthis, Syrian forces pro-Iran and the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces, remains a powerful threat. and an obstacle to improving relations between the two nations.



Due to the perceived asymmetry in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, Iran is seeking to retool its economy to be sanctions resistant and Asia-focused. Can Iran successfully mitigate the ravages of sanctions? If so, what tools remain in the US toolbox to punish Iran for failing to comply with the action plan?

These questions and more will be addressed by a panel of eminent experts including Behnam Ben Taleblu of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracy, Michael Singh CEO of the Washington Institute and veteran journalist Greg Dobbs moderator.

About the speakers

Behnam Ben Taleblu is a senior researcher at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, where he focuses on Iranian security and political issues. Behnam was previously a senior researcher and analyst on Iran at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. Prior to joining the foundation, Behnam worked on non-proliferation issues at an arms control think tank in Washington. Drawing on his subject matter expertise and native Farsi skills, Behnam has closely followed a wide range of Iran-related topics including: nuclear non-proliferation, ballistic missiles, sanctions, the Corps of guardians of the Islamic revolution, the foreign and security policy of the Islamic Republic, and Iranian domestic policy.

Michael Singh is the Principal Investigator and Managing Director of Lane-Swig at the Washington Institute and former Senior Director for Middle Eastern Affairs at the National Security Council.

During his tenure in the White House from 2005 to 2008, Singh was responsible for designing and coordinating US national security policy towards the region stretching from Morocco to Iran, with a focus particularly on Iran’s nuclear and regional activities, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Syria, and security cooperation in the Greater Middle East. Previously, Singh served as Special Assistant to Secretaries of State Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell and to the United States Embassy in Israel.

Veteran correspondent Greg Dobbs will host this program. From his on-the-ground media coverage in more than 80 countries around the world, particularly in the Middle East and Russia (as well as coverage of the US space program), Greg Dobbs is a professional speaker on world affairs, the author of two books (with two more in preparation) and journalist for almost 50 years, spending most of his time as a correspondent – including around two decades as a foreign and war correspondent – for two networks of American television, mainly ABC News.


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